I■ By Thomas D. Elias / Columnist t’s well established that the California Republican Party has been almost without influence in the state’s public affairs for years, but at least until now it has always placed someone on the fall runoff ballot running for at least one top state office. That streak of more than 140 years’ standing seems about to end. It is almost certain, for one example, that no Republican will seriously contest Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s reelection bid this November, the role of prime challenger going to fellow Democrat Kevin de Leon, longtime president of the state Senate. Mere days before the filing deadline, no significant Republican

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